Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

December 15, 2016

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Filed under: Frank Remarks — Frank Fiore @ 11:59 AM

With Christmas around the corner this might be a good time to look at some of the strangest conspiracies about the Holiday season… from flesh-filled mince pies, to Satan through to an intergalactic war… we have it all. Why don’t you check out our four “top” Christmas conspiracies… Just try not to laugh too hard. We don’t want you choking on that mince pie!

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Have A Mince Pie. It’s Fleshly Baked

There’s a conspiracy out there that says that the humble mince pie was invented by a group of cannibals in the 16th century, who decided to make little Christmas pies with fruit, spices and minced meat – diced pieces of flesh from their human victims. Mince pies today no longer contain meat to distance this Christmas tradition from its bloody origins.

The Christmas War…

Atheists and non-Christians, and corporations and governments trying to appease atheists and non-Christians, are conspiring to take the ‘Christ’ out of Christmas, to secularize what is really a Christian celebration. All in the name of political correctness. What do you think?

Santa Claus Actually…

There are those who believe Santa is Satan in disguise. Apparently because Santa dresses in Satan’s favorite color. He has supernatural powers. He flies around the world on the night before Jesus’ birthday. And most obviously, the letters in his name can be rearranged to spell ‘Satan’. This is one of the craziest conspiracy theories… but is there any truth in it?

The Hungry Life of the Former Mr Claus

Apparently, Santa wasn’t always the kind and generous figure we know today. In fact, he used to be a monster/demon who would slither down chimneys and kill and eat children, or stuff them into a sack to eat later. He only changed his ways when a holy man caught up to him and forced him to make amends by visiting each house and delivering gifts to the children instead. The holy man made the demon do this every year. In time, the demon recruited elves to help him carry out his annual gift-giving and he became Santa Claus. Really?

And if you want to see an action packed version of conspiracy theories, check out my three-book series – The Chronicles of Jermey Nash.

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April 7, 2016

Ghosts of the London Line

Filed under: Frank Remarks — Frank Fiore @ 7:55 AM

I know you’ve been waiting to hear about last week’s mystery. Was it true, or false? It was true! You can read that myth here, if you missed it… During the 1970’s there were a series of Vampire sightings at the Highgate cemetery in London. All of the experiences we told you about in last week’s blog article were completely true. Don’t forget to check out today’s great true, or false myth below!

During the 1990s, the London Underground was facing a very strange happening. Trains kept breaking down between Baker Street and Edgware Road. The affected trains would lose all power on the line between the two stations—travelers would find themselves in darkness, and commuters and staff started to become very concerned. The management was forced to conduct an investigation into what was happening and believed that a major fault lay under the section of track causing the power to fail on the trains.

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The Circle Line could well be the oldest underground railway line in the world. Its beginnings can be traced back to 1863. In the early 1900s, the track was renovated to become electrified, but when the breakdowns started in the early 1990s, electrical engineering experts could not find the problem, and for the first time, even the experts were stumped.

In desperation, the London Underground operators asked the public if they had any ideas what was causing the breakdowns. The overwhelming response was not sparks, smoke or any other such worldly thing. The majority of the responses suggested the paranormal.

One of those who answered the London Underground operators claimed that she had been travelling the line for fifteen years and alleged that she had always felt something was wrong with that section of the track. According to her, passengers passing through after leaving Baker Street would have “panic” attacks.

Another passenger who had been caught in one of the breakdowns explained that after the train broke down, the passengers noticed that there were several “figures” standing outside of their carriage. There were several accounts of these strange figures.

After receiving such strange reports, the operators of the Underground started to look into the engineering records of that part of the tube system. The records went back over one hundred years, and due to the diligent record keeping of the London Underground, it seemed that between the 1800s and 1990, workers on that section of track had found fragments of bone and teeth.

The British Museum was called in to help by the operators of the London Underground, and it was proven that the track ran over the site of a huge medieval plague pit that was said to have held the bodies of 20,000 victims. The management of the Underground had that stretch of track blessed and sprinkled with holy water. After that, the problem disappeared and has not returned… Yet

So is this terrific tale of the dead true? Are the undead stalking travelers on the London Underground? Would you travel alone under one of the oldest cities in the world?

Find out next week if this story is true, or false, and until then… sleep well!

For more urban myths fictionalized in exciting action/adventure stories, check out my book series ‘The Chronicles of Jeremy Nash‘.

3spinessmaller

January 22, 2015

Shakespeare’s Insults

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 8:26 AM
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Insults in Literature? Shakespeare knew how to toss them.  Here’s some quips from the Bard himself.

I do desire we may be better strangers.
As You Like It (3.2.248)

He is deformed, crooked, old and sere,
Ill-faced, worse bodied, shapeless everywhere;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind;
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
The Comedy of Errors (4.2.22-5)

You abilities are too infant-like for doing much alone.
Coriolanus (2.1.36)

They lie deadly that tell you you have good faces .
Coriolanus (2.1.59)

More of your conversation would infect my brain.
Coriolanus (2.1.91)

The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes.
Coriolanus (5.4.18)

There is no more mercy in him than there is milk in a male tiger.
Coriolanus (5.4.30)

Frailty, thy name is woman!
Hamlet (1.2.147)

They have a plentiful lack of wit.
Hamlet (2.2.198)

There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.
1 Henry IV (3.3.40)

Thou mis-shapen dick!
3 Henry VI (5.5.35)

No man’s pie is freed
From his ambitious finger.
Henry VIII (1.1.94)

Some report a sea-maid spawn’d him; some that he was begot between two stock-fishes. But it is certain that when he makes water his urine is congealed ice.
Measure for Measure (3.2.56)

Thou art a Castilian King urinal!
The Merry Wives of Windsor (2.3.21)

You juggler! you canker-blossom!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (3.2.293)

Thy food is such
As hath been belch’d on by infected lungs.
Pericles (4.6.156)

Out of my sight! thou dost infect my eyes.
Richard III (1.2.159)

A knot you are of damned bloodsuckers.
Richard III (3.3.6)

You peasant swain! You whoreson malt-horse drudge!
The Taming of the Shrew(4.1.116)

Best Shakespearean Comeback

I shall cut out your tongue.
‘Tis no matter, I shall speak as much wit as thou afterwards.
Troilus and Cressida (2.1.106)

January 10, 2015

Narrative vs Dialogue When Writing Stories

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 10:56 AM
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Writing a compelling novel is very like writing a screenplay. I’ve found that many of the rules of one apply to the other.

One of the biggest rule of writing is to ‘show not tell’. So, what does that mean and how does it apply to both novels and screenplays?

First, you need to know the difference between TELLING and SHOWING. Telling is abstract, passive and less involving of the reader. It slows down your pacing, takes away your action and pulls your reader out of your story.

Showing, however, is active and concrete; creating mental images that brings your story — and your characters — to life. When you hear about writing that is vivid, evocative and strong, chances are there’s plenty of showing in it. Showing is interactive and encourages the reader to participate in the reading experience by drawing her own conclusions.

So, why is showing so important to screenplays? 90% of a screenplay is ‘showing’ – that is, dialogue. There is very little narrative in a screenplay. Very little telling. You have to tell through dialogue.

Keeping this rule of screenwriting in mind would greatly improve the telling of your story in a novel.

Here’s an example from a brief part of a recent chapter I am writing – or scenes I call them – from IJIN. Keeping the rule of ‘show not tell’ in mind, I began by laying out what had to be explained in narrative form.

The two boys gave each other a look of concern. What had they done? Wild speculation crossed their minds. After all, it took little those days to bring suspicion from the Tokkō thought police and wrath of the Kempeitai upon you.

They both heard of the student that wrote ‘I hate the Military’ on the wall of public toilet and was investigated by the Tokkō and severely punished. Or the person that defaced an Imperial note by writing over the Emperor’s face ‘No more war’ and promptly arrested.

When they arrived at the principal’s office, the two boys were quickly taken into separate rooms. Kenji was forced to sit across a desk in front of two Kempeitai – one a non-commissioned officer and the other a Major.

Now, here is how I rewrote it ‘showing’ the scene not ‘telling it’.

As soon as the two boys approached their classroom, the stern Army Captain that was assigned to their school, approached them. “You two! Report to the principals office,” he barked. “Now!”

The two boys gave each other a look of concern. What had they done? Wild speculation crossed their minds. After all, it took little those days to bring suspicion from the Tokkō thought police and wrath of the Kempeitai upon you.

“Maybe it was something we said – or did,” Black Patch feared. His mind went wild. “Did you write ‘I hate the Military’ on the wall our school toilet like that boy did last month?” He nodded his head. “He and his family were investigated by the Tokkō and severely punished.”

Kenji shook his head and said, knowing Black Patch’s proclivities, “Do you think they found the Imperil note you wrote on defacing the Emperor’s face?”

That sent a shiver down Black Patch’s spine.

When they arrived at the principal’s office, the two boys were quickly taken into separate rooms. Kenji was forced to sit across a desk in front of two Kempeitai – one a non-commissioned officer and the other a Major.

Note the transposition of the narrative into dialogue between the two boys. And the use of dialogue helps you follow another important rule of writing – and you can see this used time and time again in movies – create friction, tension or conflict in a scene.

By changing the narrative of people arrested to a dialogue, the fearful words between the two students created tension. This makes the scene more interesting.

Keep the rules of screenwriting in mind when writing your novel and you’ll tell a more interesting story.

December 28, 2014

Strange predictions for the future from 1930

Filed under: Frank Remarks — Frank Fiore @ 10:40 AM
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Well, it’s new years. You know what that means. The scandal sheets lining up their predictions for the future.

But instead of looking towards the future from today, what about seeing what was predicted for today from someone from yesterday. Specifically, someone in 1930.

FE Smith with a terrier dog in the 1920s

Shortly before he died in 1930, former cabinet minister and leading lawyer FE Smith, a friend of Winston Churchill and one of the more outspoken British politicians of his age, wrote a book containing predictions of how the world would look in 100 years’ time. They covered science, lifestyles, politics and war.

So what did he say? How much of what he predicted turned out to be true?

July 31, 2014

Write What You Know? Not Necessarily

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 7:57 AM

That time worn advice is given to all new authors. But I disagree.

I say write what you CAN know. That means, learn what you need to pursue a story idea.

I write in many genres. Some say authors should stick to one and be known for it. I’d rather be known as a Michael Crichton. I want to write stories that interest me no matter what the genre.

So I’ve written techno-thrillers, action/adventure, SyFy and speculative fiction. My next two books will be general fiction followed by a ‘What If ‘historical thriller. I want to give my readers a taste of many genres in hopes they would enjoy my work. A good story is a good story. Its purpose is to entertain the reader no matter what the genre.

Do you agree?

How Did Poe Die?

Filed under: Frank Remarks — Frank Fiore @ 7:57 AM

The final days of Edgar Allan Poe have inspired more conspiracy theories than JFK and Elvis combined.

There are over 26 theories including rabies, diabetes, epilepsy, carbon monoxide poisoning, alcohol dehydrogenase, and cooping.

But let’s examine the facts.

Matthew Mercier writes that it was a common practice in our young Democracy to abduct isolated people during city elections, ply them with liquor, and then force them to vote multiple times. (The democrats were stealing elections even back then).

This would explain Poe’s deathly state when found in a Baltimore tavern – which doubled as a polling site – and the fact that he was wearing clothes that were not his.

April 30, 2014

How Dickens’ Scrooge Got His Name

Filed under: Frank Remarks — Frank Fiore @ 11:11 AM

In his diaries, Dickens states that Scrooge stems from a grave marker which he saw in 1841, while taking an evening walk in the Canongate Kirkyard in Edinburgh.

The headstone was for the vintner Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie, a relative of Adam Smith, who had won the catering contract for the visit of George IV to Edinburgh and the first contract to supply whisky to the Royal Navy. The marker identified Scroggie as a “meal man” (corn merchant), but Dickens misread this as “mean man”, due to the fading light and his mild dyslexia. Dickens wrote that it must have “shrivelled” Scroggie’s soul to carry “such a terrible thing to eternity”.

If Dickens had not been dyslectic or had better visibility, Mr. Scrooge might never have seen the light of day!

Writing Without Reading

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 11:10 AM

As I have said before, reading other author’s works is a cardinal rule of writing. But I don’t read. I watch lots and lots of movies for my writing style, plotting and character development.

I broke that rule.

Or did I?

Before I wrote my first completed novel many years ago – too many to admit – I inhaled – yes inhaled – every 1950s Golden Age of Science and Speculative Fiction I could get my hands on.

Did reading all those books influence my writing style? And what about the classical education I received in a Jesuit high school? I think it did. Layer over that writing style and story construction, my love of watching and dissecting movies and that becomes the foundation of how I write today.

Now given, that many of the movies I watch are based on books, I receive both the benefit of the writing and the dramatization of the stories.

True Stories That Would Make Amazing Movies

Filed under: Frank Remarks,On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 11:09 AM

You’ve seen it in the intro of movies – “This film is based on a true story”. Well, here are two that should be made into a film.

H.H. Holmes and the 1893 World’s Fair

Holmes is notorious for being one of the first confirmed serial killers in the history of the United States. He was already considered a murderer when his home town of Chicago became the center of the then biggest event on the planet. Offering his strangely surreal house (consisting of commercial space and several windowless, maze-like rooms) as potential accommodations, Holmes lured tourists into his trap. He eventually confessed to killing 27 people, though police at the time put the count closer to 200.

The Winchester Mansion

In 1862, Sarah Lockwood Pardee married William Wirt Winchester, treasurer of the famed gun makers. When he died of tuberculosis, the newly widowed woman was convinced that the spirits of those her husband’s weapons killed were coming to claim her family (she had lost a baby boy sometime before). So she set about building a structure to confuse the potential ghosts, a mansion outfitted with doors that opened into walls, stairs that went nowhere, and numerous confusing construction designs. In the middle was a séance room where Mrs. Winchester would seek psychic guidance for the next day’s building.

Now. What producers out there want to create a surefire hit.

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